New research from
the University of Aberdeen forecasts an upsurge in hip fracture patients within
the next decade with an annual NHS shortfall of more than £25 million to meet
Dr Luke Farrow,
Clinical Research Fellow at the University and Chair of the Scottish Hip
Fracture Audit Quality Improvement and Research Sub-group led the research and
stated that: "A clear, comprehensive national plan is needed now to manage
the future burden of hip and other fragility fractures."
The full report is
published in the journal, Bone and Joint.
The team used
data from the Scottish Hip Fracture Audit from 2017 to 2021 and statistical
forecasting techniques to predict the annual number of hip fractures from 2022
to 2029. Analysis showed that between 2017–2021 the number of annual hip
fractures increased from 6675 to 7797, and by 2029 it is forecast that the
annual number of hip fractures would be 10311, representing a 32 percent
increase from 2021. This would equate to a rise from an average of 21 daily hip
fractures in Scotland, to 28 per day.
Based upon these
projections, the total overall length of hospital stay following hip fracture
in Scotland would increase by a total of 60,699 days per year, incurring an
additional cost of at least £25 million annually.
fractures of the femur already have one of the highest levels of overall 'acute
care bed burden' in the country, with this report suggesting that approximately
a further 5 more acute hip fracture beds will be required per hospital to
accommodate this increased activity.
explains: “Our predictions show that there is a need for a clear national plan
for tackling the future burden of all fragility fractures, which should include
a big public health focus on fracture prevention measures such as reducing
falls in older adults and osteoporosis, weak bone, treatment.
services, including those that cater for hip fracture patients, are already
significantly stretched. If the projected increases are not accounted for in
future workforce, theatre capacity and bed planning then there is a real risk
that the services will not be able to cope with the increased demand, and the
quality of care that patients receive may diminish as a result.
“It is likely
that this would likely have a knock-on effect of increased patient mortality
and further strain on healthcare services managing complications associated
with sub-optimal treatment that might have otherwise been avoided.
Dr Farrow adds:
“The increasing health and social care burden of fragility trauma, driven by an
ageing population, is one of the major challenges facing the NHS over the next
10 years. We need to act urgently in order to ensure we have adequate resources
to appropriately manage these increases otherwise care will likely suffer
significantly as a result.”